Mariel Zagunis is taking her talents to Tokyo after qualifying for fifth Olympic Games


She’s a two-time gold medalist, four-time Olympian, the most decorated U.S. fencer in history, mom to daughter Sunday Noelle, and now, Mariel Zagunis is headed to her fifth Olympic Games. 

Yes, Zagunis can do it all. 

The Beaverton, Oregon native and Valley Catholic grad had an impressive showing in Athens, site of her Olympic debut in 2004, where she became the first U.S. fencer in 100 years to claim a gold medal. 

On Saturday, Zagunis took home a Saber World Cup gold for the first time since January 29, 2016 when she bested current Youth Olympic champion Liza Pusztai of Hungary 15-6 in the title decider.  

The following day, the U.S. went on to clinch qualification for the Olympic sabre team event. With the team qualification, three U.S. women’s sabre fencers were guaranteed individual spots in Tokyo. Zagunis’ reached enough U.S. ranking points to lock down a spot before the late April deadline. 

At 35, Zagunis is in line to become the oldest U.S. Olympic fencer since 1996.

After receiving her first gold medal in 2004, Zagunis defended that gold medal in 2008 and also took home team bronze medals in 2008 and 2016. 

Some of her other accomplishments include becoming the third fencer and sixth woman ever to be named Olympic flag bearer in 2012. Zagunis was also the second U.S. fencer to win a FIFE World Cup season title in 2006. 

After being eliminated from the round of 16 in Rio in 2016, Zagunis made the decision to continue for another cycle and make a run for Tokyo 2020. 


“I’m not fulfilled,” Zagunis, the 2012 U.S. Olympic Opening Ceremony flag bearer, said in December 2016, according to the Portland Tribune. “That’s part of who I am. I always want to keep going. I always want to do more. It’s a blessing and a curse to feel dissatisfied with not winning all the time.”

Now, Zagunis will get her shot in Tokyo.